The contribution of the UK government towards Uganda's transition to multiparty democracy: 1986-2005
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The study was conducted on the contribution of the UK government towards Uganda’s transition to multiparty democracy, 1986-2005. It investigated and analysed the environments that influenced Uganda’s transition from Movement to Multiparty democracy. The factors were both domestic and foreign in nature. The constraints encountered during the transition were identified and examined. The considerations that influenced the contribution of the UK government towards Uganda’s transition were analysed. A qualitative research design was applied. Key informants were purposively sampled for the study. They included diplomats, politicians, academicians, journalists and NGO officials. The participants were interviewed for primary data. Secondary data wee obtained from text books, journals, internet and periodicals. The study found that in the early years the movement government enjoyed support from both the local and international stakeholders and actors. Several factors combined to render multiparty politics unpopular in Uganda during the Movement era. Some of the major factors included people’s fear that multiparty politics would plunge the country back into chaos yet the No-party arrangement appeared to promote unity, peace stability and workable democracy. On the international plane, donors were impressed by Museveni’s willingness to embrace World Bank/ IMF sponsored reforms. In addition the Museveni regime was a willing ally of the west in their pursuit of geopolitical and business interests in the region of the Great Lakes. Thus because their interest was stability and recovery in the then war torn Uganda and later the turbulent region the donors kept a blind eye on the absence of multiparty democracy in the East African nation. In pursuit of these ends, donors wee encouraged by Museveni’s willingness and capability to cooperate and deliver. However, as the Movement increasingly got unmasked as a disguised one party state and as its original popularity steadily declined local pressure for parties increased. Unlike in the earlier days of movementocracy when agitators were few and shunned, more and more ears were willing to listen to multiparty demands. Actors in the international community began to question the movement system. On the part of the UK, the researcher gathered that the UK made some contribution but was not direct in regard to multiparty democracy. The UK was very supportive of the Movement for years before it came out a bit openly to call for multiparty politics and good governance. It is the conclusion of this study that the UK government helped to delay Uganda’s transition to multiparty democracy and therefore its contribution in this regard was largely negative.